3 tips on finding flow as a founderFeatured
Embodying effortless action as a female founderThis post takes inspiration from the Taoist concept of 无为 "Wu Wei", effortless action, a concept made famous by the eastern philosophical text 道德经 Tao Te Ching written by the sage 老子 Lao tzu. "Wu Wei" centers on the idea that you can reduce unnecessary struggle by using your natural abilities and intuition to flow with your environment. 1: YOU IN RELATION TO THE WORLDAs a founder, your venture is likely the centre of everything, and most of your activities revolve around it. You might feel an urge to accelerate the growth of your venture out of your desire to succeed sooner. The world follows the laws of nature, of the universe. If one goes against the order, for example by rushing, it takes extra effort to get things done, or in some cases, nothing gets done at all. If you don’t realise this, then you will constantly wage a war between your way and reality.**Consider external laws, follow the way of nature.** Adapt to 'the way', the rhythms of life. These are present around (the seasons) and inside of you (your menstrual cycle). Synchronize your business, your fitness and social activities with your moon cycle (ovulation, luteal, menstruation, follicular). Schedule most outward-facing, energy-consuming and extroverted activities (networking, presentations, pitches, social gatherings) during ovulation when you are most energetic, vibrant and magnetic. Schedule downtime to recuperate and reflect during your premenstrual and menstruation when rest is most needed. 2: YOU IN RELATION TO YOURSELFIn your journey as a founder, you may walk alongside others who are on a similar path, or even ahead of the path you are taking. Though it is useful to learn from them, ultimately they are different from you. What motivates them, what is most effective for them may not be what works for you. **Consider internal laws, learn and follow your most effective way of doing.** Notice what motivates you. Perhaps you thrive on competition, or you enjoy achieving goals set by yourself. Maybe you need to feel inspired or feel like your actions are fulfilling a deeper purpose in the world. Notice if your focus better in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Do you tend to procrastinate until the last minute? Would establishing an accountability partner, hiring a consultant or joining a co-working community help you get the drudgework done? Notice your patterns of behaviour and seek to understand the underlying mechanisms so you can improve the way you work and live. 3: YOU IN RELATION TO CONTROLYour venture is likely your labour of love, your baby, so your identity and self-worth may be tied to your venture that your instinct is to do whatever you can to stay in control of it. As a founder you may reach a point where you realize that your financial resources, ability to inspire people, and passion aren’t enough to enable your venture to capitalize fully on the opportunities laid ahead of you. You have to decide between giving up control over most decision making in order to attract investors and executives, or bootstrapping your venture to remain in control. **Consider your relationship with control.** Consider how the actions you take to remain in control might come at the expense of increasing your venture's value. Consider what success looks like and feel likes to you. Is this money, power or respect? When making a decision, notice if you catch yourself thinking 'I *should*...', and allow that to shift to 'I *could*...'. Soften your grip and allow your decision to come from a place of true alignment: with goals that are truly yours. About the 道德经 Tao Te ChingThis text has deeply influenced Chinese civilisation, and had a profound spiritual innovative effect on Western modern civilisation, influencing thought leaders across the fields of philosophy, religion and politics. Amongst it's fans are German philosopher Hegel, British scientist Joseph Needham and President Ronald Wilson Reagan. Some consider the Tao Te Ching not a philosphical text at all, but rather a guidebook for leaders. Questions and Contact: 📧 [Wenlin Tan](http://[email protected]/):Wenlin is a growth consultant, passionate community builder, and systems geek who is obsessed with minimizing effort to maximize results. After leaving a successful 7-year career as a globe-trotting Research Manager, she created and grew several projects, including Tuesday Tribe, an accountability group for creatives, Art of Teaching Yoga, an online accountability and mentorship community for newly-certified Yoga teachers, and Be Become Belong, a 3-part self-growth series for purpose-driven female professionals.